Our team at Galaxy Party Management (GPM) is what makes our organization so special. We are all about the best of the best and there is none better than our fearless transportation leader, Robert “Buzz” Morton. We recently sat down with Buzz to hear his perspectives on his journey from touring with greats like Bruce Springsteen and Elton John to managing transportation for America’s #1 party bands. Take a read…you’ll enjoy this!
Q. How did you get your start?
A. I came from a rural town in North Carolina and always wanted to be a truck driver. Just a year after doing coast to coast runs, I saw a tractor trailer hauling equipment. I called the company and three days later I was on the Jimmy Buffett tour!
Q. How did you get your nickname?
A. I have always shaved my head. Back in 2000 I was in Florida with Jimmy Buffett and his production person, Sly. We were watching a ballgame and I got up to to shave my head. Jimmy walked by and touched the top of my head. I said, “Do you like it?” He said, “Looks good, Buzz!” and Buzz has been my nickname ever since!
Q. How was it touring with Bruce Springsteen?
A. Amazing. On my second tour with him, we were leaving State College, Pennsylvania, and headed to Florida. We were 75 people strong with 10-15 buses and 15 tractor trailers. It was a huge production. Bruce, who always wore big black boots, accidentally stepped on the corner of my tennis shoe and scuffed it. He was very apologetic and, of course, I said not to worry. When I checked into my room in Florida, there waiting for me was the exact same shoes in my size. It really touched me that someone like Bruce would take the time to do that for me. Bruce and everyone on the tour were pure quality people.
Q. When did you start with GPM?
A. I first met Dennis in 2002 when I worked on a gig with him but started with Party on the Moon (POTM) full time in 2009. The backstory is that I was asked to come off the road from my big tours to manage a coach company. My two daughters were getting older, so I thought the time was right to come home. At the same time, Dennis asked me to work part time as a driver for POTM. I could see how things were escalating for POTM and knew it would grow to something big that I wanted to be a part of so I jumped in full time. I told Dennis, “Book as many shows as possible and I will get you there!”
Q. What is your role with GPM today?
A. I oversee everything ground transportation-related for all of our bands. At the end of the day, I am responsible for getting the bands and gear to gigs. I do what I can to ensure our bands arrive early for events and they spend the least amount of time on the bus. If I can add anything on the road like unloading or loading, I jump in. I am there for the benefit of our team. Our coaches help with cost savings for our clients and that’s key.
Q. How has the business grown?
A. Back when I started, POTM did 40-50 shows per year. Now they do 100+. And, that’s just one of our bands. In total, we have 120+ musicians who do over a thousand shows each year. From a transportation perspective, we have grown from one bus to three buses, three trailers that we use to haul our equipment and a 26-foot Box truck. We are growing so fast; we will probably buy another bus at the end of the year.
Q. How many miles do you travel a year?
A. Approximately 80,000 miles a year! I am on the road 50 out of 52 weekends per year and sometimes during the week, too.
Q. What is the tour bus like?
A. Our biggest bus is 45-feet long, 13.2-feet high and 9-feet wide. Dennis calls it the “Amelia Island Sushi Bar!” We want to give our musicians the best travel experience possible so the bus is outfitted with every comfort. The bus has a beautiful maple wood burl inlay that slides out into a lounge once the bar gets parked. It has 12 beds and a rear lounge that’s like a living room. We have iPads in all the bunks, satellite, 987 movies that can be downloaded, a galley kitchen with three refrigerators, a microwave and Keurig and a lavatory, of course. We also carry a 21-foot trailer behind us. You know when we’re in town.
Q. What is like to be a part of GPM?
A. It’s like family. Dennis often comes up while I’m driving and we spend some one-on-one time. We often hear the band carrying on and laughing in the back & Dennis will say, “Sounds great, doesn’t it Bob?” I reply, “It sounds like a family.”
Dennis has always been there for me. If I could choose a brother, it would be Dennis Smith. He has taken me under his wing and showed me I was much more than I thought…that my opinion counts and my family counts and that means a lot. Everyone that is a part of GPM shares that spirit. There isn’t one band member that I wouldn’t do anything in the world for…and vice versa.